Food for Healthy Kidney and Liver: All You Need to Know

Kidneys are small organs in the lower abdomen that play a crucial role in overall body health. Healthy food for healthy kidney and liver is necessary to maintain kidneys and liver in good condition. Some foods can increase kidney performance, while others can cause stress and harm.

The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and send them out of the body into the urine. They are also responsible for balancing fluid and electrolyte levels.

The kidneys perform these tasks without outside help. Various conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, can affect the ability of kidneys to function.

Ultimately, kidney damage can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Diet is the most critical risk factor for CKD death and disability, making diet changes a crucial part of treatment.

Food for Healthy Kidney and Liver

Healthy food for a healthy kidney and liver can help the kidneys and liver function properly and prevent damage to these organs.

However, while some foods generally help maintain a healthy kidney, not all foods and drinks mentioned below are suitable for people with kidney disease.

Water

Water is an essential drink for the body. The body cells use water to transport toxins into the bloodstream.

Kidneys use water to filter these toxins out of the body and create urine to transport these toxins. A person can support these functions by drinking whenever they feel thirsty.

Also Read: Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Problem: Kidney Disease

Fatty Fish

Tuna, Salmon, and other types of cold-water, fatty fishes that are good in omega-3 fatty acids can help make a beneficial diet for kidneys.

Many studies show that using omega-3 fatty acids in the short-term or long-term may lower End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) risk and clear creatinine levels at an increased rate. [1]

Sweet Potatoes

These potatoes are similar to white potatoes, but their excess fiber may cause them to break down more slowly, resulting in less of a spike in insulin levels. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that may help balance sodium levels in the body and reduce its effect on the kidneys.

Although anyone on dialysis or has CKD may need to limit the intake of this vegetable as the sweet potato is a high-potassium food.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, and chard, which are dark leafy greens, contain a wide variety of vitamins, fibers, and minerals. Many also contain protective compounds, such as antioxidants.

Although these foods also tend to be high in potassium, they may not be suitable for people on a restricted diet or those on dialysis.

Berries

Dark berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are a great source of many helpful nutrients and antioxidant compounds. These may help protect the cells in the body from damage and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress [2]

Berries are likely to be a better option than other sugary foods for satisfying a sweet craving.

The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, which means they have to come from the diet. Fatty fish are a great natural source of these healthful fats.

As the National Kidney Foundation notes, omega-3 fats may reduce fat levels in the blood and slightly lower blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney disease, finding natural ways to lower it may help protect the kidneys.

Apples

An apple is a healthy snack that contains a vital fiber called pectin. This fiber may help reduce some risk factors for kidney damage, such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Apples are low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium making them good food choice for kidneys. [3]

Apples can also help in making good tooth health.

What foods should you avoid to protect your kidneys?

There are several foods that people should avoid if they want to improve their kidney health or prevent damage to kidneys. These foods include:

Foods Rich in Phosphorous

Too much consumption of phosphorus can put stress on the kidneys. Research has shown a link between high phosphorous intake and an increased risk of long-term damage to the kidneys.

However, there is not enough evidence to prove that phosphorous causes this damage, so more research into this topic is necessary.

For people looking to reduce their phosphorous intake, foods high in phosphorous include:

  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Most grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Fish

Red Meat

Some types of protein may be harder for the kidneys or the body in general to process. These include red meat.

Early research has shown that people who consume much red meat have a higher risk of last-stage kidney disease than those who eat less red meat. However, there is a need for more studies to investigate this risk.

Liver

The liver is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, making glucose, and detoxing the body. The liver creates bile and also stores nutrients. Bile is necessary to absorb and digest the nutrients in food properly. There are a lot of foods and drinks that a person can consume to help protect the liver.

For overall health, a healthy liver is vital. Liver dysfunction can lead to liver disease, metabolic disorder, and even type 2diabetes.

It may be impossible to manage all risk factors, but consuming certain drinks and foods can help in promoting liver health.

Below we will discuss some best foods for a healthy liver and their beneficial effects on the organ. We also cover some foods to avoid for promoting liver health.

Coffee

A review published in the journal Liver International in 2013 suggests that in the United States, over 50 percent of people consume coffee daily. Coffee is considered suitable for the liver, mainly because coffee protects against liver issues like fatty liver disease.

The review also notes that the intake of daily coffee can reduce the risk of chronic liver disease. Coffee may also defend the liver from damaging conditions like liver cancer.

A 2014 study that appears in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology suggests that the protective effects of coffee are due to how it influences liver enzymes.

Coffee, it reports, seems to reduce fat buildup in the liver. It also increases protective antioxidants in the liver. The compounds present in the coffee helps liver enzymes to get rid of the body from cancer-causing substances.

Oatmeal

Consuming oatmeal is an easy way to add fiber to the diet. Fiber is an essential tool for digestion, and the specific fibers in oats may be beneficial for the liver. Oats and oatmeal are high in compounds called beta-glucans.

As a 2017 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reports, beta-glucans are very biologically active in the body. They help modulate the immune system and fight against inflammation, and they may be beneficial in the fight against diabetes and obesity.

The review also notes that beta-glucans from oats appear to help reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver in mice, which could also help protect the liver. More clinical studies are necessary to confirm this, however.

People looking to add oats or oatmeal to their diet should look for whole oats or steel-cut oats rather than prepackaged oatmeal. Prepackaged oatmeal may contain fillers such as flour or sugars, which will not benefit the body.

Green Tea 

A study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2015 found that green tea can help reduce overall fat content, combat oxidative stress, and reduce other signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

It is important to note that tea can be better than extracts, as some extracts can harm the liver rather than cure it.

Data from several independent studies show that a significant reduction of liver disease risk occurs in green tea drinkers. [4]

Garlic

Adding garlic to the diet can also help stimulate the liver. Garlic is beneficial, as being overweight or obese contributes to NAFLD (Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease).

Consuming raw garlic twice or more a week is the opposite of liver cancer. [5]

A study published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research in 2016 found that garlic consumption reduces body weight and fat content in people with NAFLD without changing lean body mass.

Berries

Many blackberries, such as cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries, contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help protect the liver from harm.

World Journal of Gastroenterology study suggests that eating berries regularly can also help strengthen the immune system.

Grapes

The study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that grapes, grape juice, and grape seeds are rich in antioxidants that can help the liver by reducing inflammation and preventing liver damage.

Eating whole and seeded grapes is an easy way to add these compounds to the diet. A grape seed extract supplement can also provide antioxidants.

Grapefruit

The World Journal of Gastroenterology study also mentions grapefruit as a helpful food. Grapefruit contains two primary antioxidants: naringin and naringenin. These can help protect the liver from injury by reducing inflammation and protecting liver cells.

The compounds can also reduce fat accumulation in the liver and increase the fat-burning enzymes. It can make grapefruit helpful food in the fight against NAFLD.

Prickly Pears

Fruit juice and prickly pear juice can also be beneficial for liver health. The World Journal of Gastroenterology study suggests that fruit compounds can help protect the organ.

However, most research focuses on fruit extracts, so studies on fruit or juice are needed.

Plant Foods in General

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015 reports that many plant foods can be helpful for the liver.

These foods include:

  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Lawyer       
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Fig
  • Barley
  • Beetroot and beetroot juice
  • Brown rice                                        
  • Watermelon
  • Greens such as kale and collards        

People should eat these foods as part of a complete and balanced diet. The plant foods mentioned above are good food choices for a healthy kidney and liver.

Fatty Fish

As a study by the World Journal of Gastroenterology points out, the consumption of oily fish and fish oil supplements can help reduce the impact of conditions such as NAFLD.

Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats that help reduce inflammation. These fats can be beneficial in the liver as they prevent excess fat accumulation and maintain enzyme levels.

The study recommends eating bluefish two or more times a week. If oily fish like herring or Salmon aren’t easy to incorporate into your diet, try taking a daily fish oil supplement.

Nuts

A study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology says eating nuts can be another easy way to keep your liver healthy and protect yourself from NAFLD. Walnuts usually contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These compounds can help prevent NAFLD and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Consuming a handful of nuts such as walnuts or almonds every day can help maintain liver health. However, people must be careful not to overeat because nuts are high in calories.

Olive Oil

Overeating fat is not good for the liver, but some fats can help. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology study, adding olive oil to the diet can help reduce oxidative stress and improve liver function. It is due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.

So adding olive oil to the diet is a good food choice for a healthy kidney and liver.

What Foods Are Bad For Liver?

Generally, finding a balance in your food will keep your liver healthy. However, there are also foods and food groups that the liver finds more difficult to process. These foods include:

Fatty foods: include fried foods, fast food, and takeaway dishes from many restaurants. Snacks, chips, and nuts can also be surprisingly high in fat.

Starchy foods: include bread, pasta, and cakes or pastries.

Sugar: Reducing sugar and sugary foods such as cereals, sweets, and pastries can help reduce stress on the liver.

Salt: The simple ways to reduce your salt intake include eating less, avoiding canned meats or vegetables, and reducing or avoiding salt and bacon.

Alcohol: Anyone who wants to give a break to his liver should eliminate the consumption of alcohol entirely from his diet.

Conclusion

Kidneys play an essential role in filtering blood and eliminating waste products in the urine. Healthy food for healthy kidney and liver is necessary as these organs play a crucial role in maintaining good health. Many foods can help main kidney and liver health and prevent damage to these organs.

However, people with chronic kidney disease will need to follow different eating rules to protect their kidneys from further damage. It is always good to speak to your doctor before making any dietary changes.

The liver detoxifies the body, breaks down carbohydrates, and makes glucose. Nutrients are stored in the liver, and the bile produced in the liver is essential to absorb and digest the nutrients. 

A healthy liver is necessary for overall health. Dysfunctioning of the liver can cause metabolic disorders. Thus intake of healthy food for healthy kidney and liver is vital.

 

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